Participant Handbook

Welcome to Brandeis Precollege Programs!

You are about to embark on a great adventure. We are excited to share this summer of learning, new experiences, friends and fun. This handbook contains general information that will be useful to you as you prepare for your time at Brandeis.

If you have any questions as you read this handbook, please be in touch with our office. Of course, as at any time during the summer, feel free to speak with any of our staff about any and all of your questions and concerns.

In May, we will send additional program information as well as a detailed packing list. In early June, you will receive emails from your Program Director. Please be sure to read these emails and respond in a timely manner. If you are using an AOL email address, please try to find a different address for us to have in our database—AOL addresses seem to cause problems with both Gmail and our database system.

Brandeis and Precollege Programs

There is no other place like Brandeis. As a medium-sized private research university with global reach, we are dedicated to first-rate undergraduate education while making groundbreaking discoveries. 

Our 235-acre campus is located in the suburbs of Boston, a global hub for higher education and innovation. Our faculty are leaders in their fields, as passionate about teaching and mentorship as they are about pushing the boundaries of knowledge. Our students are motivated, compassionate, curious and open to exploring new and challenging experiences. At Brandeis, you will discover a community rooted in purpose, guided by our founding values, poised to lead in education and research in the 21st century.

For two decades, Brandeis University has been welcoming select high school students to campus in the summer, through our Precollege Programs. Brandeis runs many different residential programs each summer: BIMA, Genesis, App Design, Service Corps, Queer Academics & Activism and the Global Youth Summit on the Future of Medicine. All of our programs encourage students to ask challenging questions, explore their passions, and learn from each other, while making new friendships.

No matter what you’re here to learn and explore, we promise you an exciting, meaningful experience at Brandeis. In addition to your classes and on-campus activities, you will have a chance to visit the city of Boston and perhaps other notable spots in New England.

We’re glad you’re joining our community this summer!


Laura Bellows - Senior Jewish Educator, Director of BIMA and Genesis
Laura Bellows
Senior Jewish Educator / Director of BIMA and Genesis

Laura is an educator, community builder, and artist focusing on the intersection of Torah, ecology, gender, and justice issues. She pioneered the Teva Learning Alliance’s Jewish environmental community programs for teens and youth nationally, worked as an educator and rabbinic presence at the Brandeis Collegiate Institute (in California), and has taught at and designed curriculum for Jewish high school programs across the country. Laura is an alumna of the American Jewish World Service’s Global Justice Fellowship and is the founder of the Hebrew College Eco-Ritual Lab. She has a B.A. from Oberlin College and received rabbinic ordination from the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College in Boston. When not immersed in building a more whole world with teens and young adults, Laura can be found hiking, making music, or cooking up a storm for Shabbat with her family.

Lisa Debenedictis
Lisa DeBenedictis
Director of App Design, QAA, and Service Corps

As Director, Lisa oversees the educational, co-curricular, and residential experience for three Brandeis Precollege Programs. Her background in education includes experience working with high school and college students, alumni, and community partners focusing on the arts, technology, adolescent and adult learning and development, and community engagement.

Prior to joining Brandeis, Lisa managed visual art and design courses and programs at Lesley University and, previously, worked in alumni affairs and development at Harvard University. Her background also includes teaching design courses, and serving as a residential and academic adviser at Harvard College.

Lisa has a Bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and a Master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

lydia casmier
Lydia Casmier
Director, Global Youth Summit on the Future of Medicine

As Director of the Summit, Lydia works closely with all sites, partners, faculty and program staff to ensure a robust educational experience.  Her background is in social-emotional learning and college and career readiness training. Her approach to program management is driven by the Positive Youth Development (PYD) framework and her commitment to expanding college access to under-resourced and first generation students.

Prior to joining Brandeis, Lydia taught high school in Medellin, Colombia, and served six years as Senior Youth Development Coordinator at the Mary's Center Teen Program in Washington, D.C. Lydia received her Bachelor's degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C.



Global Youth Summit on the Future of Medicine: June 23-29, 2019

Queer Academics & Activism: June 23-28, 2019

App Design: July 7-18, 2019

BIMA: July 2-29, 2019

Genesis: Full Session - July 2-29, 2019 | Single Session - July 2-15, 2019

Service Corps: July 7-18, 2019


Brandeis is easily accessible by all major forms of transportation. We are located in Waltham, MA. You can get to us via car, airplane or train. Our staff will meet you and provide transportation from Boston Logan International Airport or the Route 128 Amtrak Station nearby.

You are expected to make your own travel arrangements.

By Car:

We ask that participants arriving by car arrive between 1pm - 3pm. Signs will be posted on the campus to direct you. Parents or guardians who are driving their student to campus are invited to stay and help participants unpack and get settled. We ask that family depart by 3PM, as activities will begin at that time. For driving directions to Brandeis University, please visit the University’s website:

By Plane:

If you are arriving by plane, please arrange your travel to Boston's Logan International Airport (BOS). Brandeis staff will meet you at the airport - you’ll receive instructions on where to meet our staff as program dates approach. We will be running free shuttles to and from the airport to Brandeis on arrival and departure days. Please be aware that if you book a flight that arrives very early on arrival day, or departs very late on departure day, you will end up with a longer day at the airport.

Global Youth Summit on the Future of Medicine: 

Arrival day flights should arrive into Logan Airport no later than 1:00 pm on Sunday, June 23. Shuttle to Brandeis will run from 8:00 am - 2:00 pm.

Departure day flights should depart Logan after 2:00 pm on Saturday June 29. Shuttle from Brandeis will run 11:00 am - 2:00 pm.  

BIMA and Genesis: 

Arrival day flights should arrive into Logan Airport no later than 1 pm on Tuesday July 2. Shuttle to Brandeis will run from 8:00 am - 2:00 pm.

Departure day flights should depart Logan after 11 am on Monday July 29. Shuttle from Brandeis will run 9:00 am - 12:00 pm.  

Genesis first session: 

Arrival day flights should arrive into Logan Airport no later than 1 pm on Tuesday July 2. 

Departure day flights should depart Logan after 11 am on Monday July 15. Departure day flights should depart Logan after 11 am on Monday July 29. Shuttle from Brandeis will run 9:00 am - 12:00 pm.  

App Design and Service Corps:

Arrival day flights should arrive into Logan Airport no later than 1 pm on Sunday, July 7. 

Departure day flights should depart Logan after 11 am on Thursday, July 18. Departure day flights should depart Logan after 11 am on Monday July 29. Shuttle from Brandeis will run 9:00 am - 12:00 pm.  

Queer Academics & Activism:

Arrival day flights should arrive into Logan Airport no later than 1 pm on Sunday, June 23. 

By Train:

If you are arriving by train, please arrange your travel to the Route 128 train station in Westwood, MA (RTE). We will meet you at the station and provide transportation to Brandeis University.  We will also provide transportation back to the station at the end of the program. Please try to book travel that will have you arriving to Route 128 no later than 1pm on arrival day. On departure day, trains can be booked anytime after after 11am (for App Design, Service Corps, BIMA and Genesis) or anytime after 2pm (for YLS and GYS). A Brandeis staff member will meet you in the waiting area of the train station.


There are many hotels in the Brandeis area. Here are two recommendations:

Marriott Courtyard
Holiday Inn Express
387 Winter Street 
385 Winter Street 
Waltham, MA 02451 
Waltham, MA 02451
(866) 419-0999
(877) 863-4780



We will provide transportation to Logan International Airport and to the Westwood Route 128 (RTE) Amtrak Station. We cannot provide transportation to any other locations.

By Car:

Participants of App Design, Concord Review, Service Corps, BIMA and Genesis should be picked up between 9-11am on departure day. Participants of YLS and GYS should be picked up between 12pm-2pm on departure day.

By Plane:
Participants should book flights scheduled to depart after 11am (for App Design, Concord Review, Service Corps, BIMA and Genesis) or anytime after 2pm (for YLS and GYS) from Boston Logan International Airport on Departure Day.

By Train:
On departure day, trains can be booked anytime after after 11am (for App Design, Concord Review, Service Corps, BIMA and Genesis) or anytime after 2pm (for YLS and GYS).

Any alternative accommodations or transportation required past the dates of the program will be the responsibility of the participant and family. Participants are not able to stay in the residence halls beyond the final day of the program.



The medical form is an online form, accessible through your DEISconnect portal. It is due as soon as possible and no later than May 1, 2019. In completing your medical form, you will be required to upload a recent immunization record. Massachusetts state law requires all participants to have up to date vaccinations before attending the program. Families are expected to inform the office of any changes in medications or health status once the health forms have been submitted.

Please note that every participant is required by law to have health insurance coverage within the United States. If you do not have health insurance, you must register for temporary health insurance for the duration of the program. If you do not have health insurance in the United States, you can purchase short term coverage from a number of providers, including: Compass Benefits Group - Compass Benefit Benchmark Plan.

Brandeis High School Programs employs a full-time residential health coordinator to oversee participants' physical and mental health needs. There is also an urgent care clinic and hospital a few minutes from campus for emergency services. Families are responsible for hospital and testing fees and are required to work with the office to arrange any ongoing medical care their children may require.

Participants who require injections must make prior arrangements with the office. Allergy injections will not be administered by staff. We can provide families with a list of physicians in the area upon request. Please contact the office with any questions or concerns.


Brandeis Precollege Programs offers either single-gender or gender-inclusive housing. 
  • Single-Gender – A a residence hall that is designated as male or female. 
  • Gender Inclusive / Gender Neutral – A housing option in which two or more students may share a multiple-occupancy bedroom, in mutual agreement, regardless of the students’ sex or gender identity.  Any room in a mixed-gender area may be considered gender inclusive. )
Each room contains a bed, desk, chair, dresser, and closet for each participant. There is a common bathroom on each floor. Precollege staff works diligently to ensure student's comfort and health in the residence halls. If students require special accommodations, please reach out to our staff at
Each participant will receive a room key. The same key also unlocks the exterior door to the dorm. You are responsible for your key throughout the program and must keep it with you at all times. A fee of $200 will be charged for a lost key.

You will sign for the condition of the room when you move in and out. You are responsible for any damages incurred during your occupancy.
Repair fees per room:

Item Amount Item Amount
Clean carpeting
Scrape, patch, and paint per wall
Repair carpeting
Scrape, patch, and paint ceiling
Replace carpeting
Replace shelf
Repair window screen
Repair drawer
Replace window screen
Graffiti removal
Replace window shade
Excessive trash/room cleaning
Replace mirror (5 feet high)
Other damage repair amounts

Participants’ meal plans begin at lunch on the day of arrival and end at breakfast on the day of departure. You will receive your meal cards at registration. These cards are necessary for admission to the cafeteria and serve as Brandeis ID cards. You must keep your ID card with you at all times. A lost meal card can be replaced for a fee of $20. The Sherman dining hall offers a variety of foods at every meal. We can accommodate various specialty diets, including:

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Kosher 
  • Lactose-Intolerant
  • Gluten-Free

If you have any questions about specific dietary needs, please call our office so we can help.


You will have access to the Brandeis libraries and the public computer clusters. Overdue fines: 25 cents per day for books from the regular collection; reserve books are $2 for the first hour; $1 for each additional hour. Replacement fees are $75 per book in Goldfarb Library and $100 per book in Gerstenzang Science Library. No food or drink is allowed in the library buildings.

In addition, you will have access to the athletic facilities and the practice rooms in the music center on campus. The available hours of these facilities and others will be posted on a bulletin board in the dining hall.
The Shapiro Campus Center houses an ATM, and there is a coffee shop in the Farber Library. Usdan Student Center houses a post office and ATM. The hours of these facilities will be posted for participants.

You will have access to laundry rooms located within the residence hall, the machines accept quarters only at $1.50 per load. Change will be available at the Shapiro Campus Center information desk, where our staff will be posted. You need to supply your own laundry detergent.

Brandeis is located in a safe, suburban neighborhood with minimal through traffic. The campus is patrolled twenty-four hours a day by officers of the Brandeis University Department of Public Safety. Throughout campus, call boxes marked by blue lights provide immediate communication with the Brandeis University Department of Public Safety. Participants are required to keep their individual rooms in the residence halls locked and the exterior doors to the residence halls closed.


Note: These policies apply to participants in all of Brandeis University’s Precollege Programs.

As in all communities, members have not only rights, but also responsibilities. Participants in our programs are expected to behave in a manner that respects and considers the rights of others in the community. Participants are expected to comply with the policies listed below.


Our staff members not only form relationships with the participants who attend the program, but also with their parents or guardians. We strive to keep parents well informed throughout the summer. Our experience has shown that our participants are best served when parents/guardians and our staff have a positive, honest, and open working relationship.


We expect participants to promote the creation of the community based on mutual respect and a sense of personal well-being. Personal honesty, civility, and respect are at the heart of the programs.

Participants are expected to take part in scheduled activities including attendance at all classes, group meetings, programs, and excursions. Participants are treated as responsible young adults, and in return we ask that they help to foster an atmosphere of respect and trust in relationships with fellow participants, faculty, staff, and members of the University and local community.

We make every effort to address student life issues in a proactive manner; we deal with disciplinary issues fairly and as quickly as possible. The staff and administration handle each case individually, keeping in mind the specific circumstances as well as the best interests of the larger community. Although consistency is desirable, it will not always be the governing principle in settling disciplinary issues. Disciplinary action will be taken when there is a preponderance of evidence that a rule or guideline of the program has been violated. The staff and administration appreciate honesty and straightforward communication regarding community policies.


A participant who violates a Major Policy can expect to be dismissed.

Please note that if a participant is knowingly and willingly in the presence of a Major Policy violation, it is as if they are breaking the policy themselves. In addition to the examples cited below, behaviors that jeopardize the welfare of the community or bring the name of Brandeis University, its partners, or any of our programs into disrepute, whether on or off campus, are considered Major Policy violations.

  1. Participants are expected to act with respect for the well-being and rights of others. Behavior that is deemed to be injurious to the program, individual participants, or the larger campus community is unacceptable. Therefore, infringing on the rights of others through harassment and/or hazing is a breach of such standards. Such behaviors include but are not limited to: sexual assault or harassment; physical or verbal assault or threats; behaviors intended to intimidate or humiliate others or those that may cause emotional distress or physical harm; abusive physical behavior; bullying; and the use of abusive language whether these behaviors be in-person or online.
  2. Participants are expected to respect both community property and the property of others. Theft, the possession or use of stolen property, or the deliberate destruction or abuse of personal or community property, are violations of this standard. This would include intellectual property as well as computer files.
  3. In order to respect each other’s privacy, participants must adhere to the following policy governing residence halls: it is a violation to be in any part of a residential space of a participant of the other gender. 
  4. Participants are expected to maintain a safe environment. Examples of violations of this standard are: possessing or using fireworks, firearms, or other dangerous weapons, items, or substances (including pocket knives). Because a possible fire exposes so many community members to extreme danger, the burning of anything or the use of an open flame indoors (candles, matches, lighters, incense, tobacco products, etc.) is a violation of this standard.
  5. For reasons of physical and emotional safety as well as community building, we ask participants to be aware of the impact that their relationships have on other members of the community and how they might take away from the focus of the summer. Though we recognize that exploring relationships and sexual behavior is normal for adolescents, we discourage participants from engaging in sexual behavior with others, regardless of the participants’ sex. Both public and private sexual behavior that is deemed to be inappropriate and is grounds for dismissal.
  6. For reasons of safety and accountability, we have stated policies regarding where participants can be throughout the day and evening and all participants are expected to uphold any policy concerning their whereabouts. For example, participants who are outside of their dorms after final evening check-in would be in violation of this policy. Furthermore, any participant who leaves the designated program boundaries, either on-campus or on a trip, would also be in violation of this policy. 

Evening Sign-In Procedures

All participants are required to honor quiet hours and times in the dorm buildings. Days are long and intense at all of our programs, and everyone - participants and staff - needs to get sufficient, uninterrupted sleep.

Participants must sign-in to the dorms each evening by and not later than 11:00 pm. At this time, the noise level inside the residence halls must be kept to a minimum to allow anyone the ability to go to sleep.

At 12:00 am all participants must be in their own rooms. To help facilitate this, all laundry must be started before 10:30 pm, any food ordered for delivery from an outside vendor must be ordered by 9:30pm and showering/washing should be done taking this timing into account. If a participant is found out of his/her room past 12:00 am, the first violation will result in a conversation with the director of the program. The second violation is grounds for dismissal.

Participants must sleep in their assigned rooms every night.

Procedures for sign-in will be reviewed when the participants arrive on campus. Participants may not leave the dorm building between the hours of signing-in and 6:00 am the next day without permission. If, without prior consent of the residential staff, a participant leaves the dorm building after signing-in and before 6:00 am the following day, it is grounds for dismissal. Participants are not permitted in any other dorm building on campus.

Leaving a Program without Permission

If a participant leaves the program without using the established sign-out procedures, essentially “running away,” that person will no longer be able to participate in the program. We cannot guarantee the safety of a participant who is not compliant with this policy, and will not take responsibility for a participant once he or she has left the program in an unauthorized fashion. Participants are not allowed to walk off campus without a staff member present.

  1. Participants may not operate a motor vehicle during the program. Participants may take trains, buses, cars, etc. only when participating in an organized activity with program staff. Participants may travel in vehicles with friends or family members who are 21 years of age or older only if their parents have communicated directly with the Office to give permission.
  2. Participants are expected to abide by the public laws governing the use of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs. Therefore, it is not acceptable to: possess, use, distribute, provide, or cause to be brought on campus any illegal drug, controlled substance, tobacco product, anabolic steroid, alcohol, or any related paraphernalia (including tobacco, marijuana or hashish pipes or papers and alcohol containers); misuse of prescription or over-the-counter medications or chemical substances; or return to campus showing evidence of having been drinking or using illegal drugs. Participants who remain in the presence of a drug or alcohol violation are themselves in violation of this policy.
  3. Participants are expected to be positive and cooperative in all of their dealings with the program staff and faculty. If a participant repeatedly breaks these policies, does not abide by the written or verbal directives of the staff and faculty, or does not follow stated and written procedures, he or she can expect to be dismissed for the accumulation of such incidents.
  4. Unauthorized video/audio taping, photography, or web postings are grounds for dismissal from the program. Authorized taping, photography or web postings include images, sounds or video of oneself or of others taken within a public setting or event which would be considered free from any possibility of embarrassment (when in doubt check with a staff member). Unauthorized examples include private conversations, or recordings that were taken secretly / unexpectedly.
  5. In addition to these policies, participants are expected to abide by all Brandeis University policies and procedures.
  6. Eating disorders, cutting, burning, suicidal gestures, and other similar behaviors are profound and potentially life threatening. These types of behaviors require the treatment and attention of specialists. Our programs are not designed to provide such specialized treatment for these behaviors. Therefore, if a participant engages in any of these types of behaviors during the program, they must go home to ensure their safety and the well-being of others.


Failure to abide by other Program policies makes a participant liable to be placed on probation. Probationary violations include:

If we deem any of these infractions to be egregious, or if there are multiple infractions of these policies, dismissal can result.

Residence Hall Rooms

Participants are expected to maintain a reasonably clean-living space throughout the program. This demonstrates respect for roommates, respect for self and promotes health. Participants must leave their rooms in an acceptable condition at the end of the program; the participants (and parents) are responsible for the cost of any repairs needed.

Final Days of the Program

During the final days of the programs, any violation of any policy can result in immediate dismissal.

State and Federal Regulations

While the guidelines described reflect our own philosophy and mechanisms for dealing with breaches of our rules and standards, we are also obligated to adhere to all applicable state and federal statutes. Thus, should we become aware of certain types of incidents – such as abuse (current or in the past), hazing and some forms of harassment – we are required to report them to outside authorities, including the local police and the Massachusetts Department of Social Services.

Technology and Electronics Policy

A major focus of all of our programs is on the forming of new relationships and the building of a creative, engaging, fun community. Our programs attract high school students who are interested in meeting new people and getting to know people who come from backgrounds different from their own.

While we have all become used to being surrounded by various electronic devices - such as mobile phones, computers, MP3 players, iPads and other tablet computers - and appreciate all of the benefits they bring, we urge participants and their families to think, before the summer, of how all of these elements can also interfere with relationship and community building.

We offer the following policies and guidelines in an attempt to negotiate the need to be connected “on-line” with our core value of spending the summer in meaningful interpersonal encounters with other people in our community.

We understand that families and friends will want to be in touch with the participants. The best time for participants to be reached is between 9:30 PM and 11:00 PM each night. We strongly urge family and friends to avoid contacting participants outside of these hours as they will inevitably be disrupting different elements of the program.

Families can call the office at any time (781-736-8416) to ask a question, speak to a member of the senior staff, or get a message to a participant.

Mobile phones

Mobile phones are never to be used (for phone calls, texting, or any other use) during any program activity or in common spaces, such as the dining hall and dorm lounges. Mobile phone use must be limited to free time outdoors. We encourage all members of the community to be sensitive to how disruptive mobile phone use can be when building a new community.

Electronic devices

Unless specifically required for their program (ex. App Design, Concord Review, GYS, and Service Corps), participants are strongly encouraged not to bring computers or DVD players to campus. This includes iPads and other tablet computers. There are several public computer clusters available for participant use. Participants can use these computers for their course work (if relevant) or for personal use during designated times, to check email or use the Internet.

Any participant who does bring an electronic device to campus is expected to keep it within their residence hall room, and minimize its use. Devices should not be used in public spaces, with the exception of those specifically needed for summer program purposes.


At all of our Brandeis summer programs for high school students, we encourage participants to be open to learning new things about the world and about themselves. We pride ourselves on bringing together people from across the world and from different beliefs and lifestyles to create a vibrant, diverse community.

We encourage everyone involved in our programs to come with an open mind and to be willing and eager to ask challenging questions and to learn a lot. As a part of this, we expect that all members of our community treat each other with more than tolerance—with respect, openness and kindness. This summer is a unique and special moment for all of us, and we must all work to make it a positive experience.

Non-Discrimination Clause

Brandeis University is committed to providing its students, faculty and staff with an environment conducive to learning and working where all people are treated with respect and dignity. Toward that end, it is essential that Brandeis be free from discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, ancestry, religious creed, gender identity and expression, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, genetic information, disability, Vietnam Era veteran, qualified special, disabled veteran or other eligible veteran status or any other category protected by law.

It is the University’s responsibility to help prevent harassment and discrimination from occurring, to pursue concerns of which it is aware, to objectively investigate concerns, and to take immediate and appropriate action to remedy issues of harassment and discrimination. Brandeis takes this responsibility seriously. Therefore, violations of this policy will not be tolerated and may result in corrective actions up to and including dismissal from school or release from employment.



By email

Email is a great way for participants to stay in touch with family and friends during the summer. Participants will have access to public computer labs throughout campus.

By phone

If you bring a cell phone, be sure to tell family and friends that you will only be able to use it during non-program times. The best time for families and friends to reach participants is between 9:30 PM and 11:00 PM each night. We strongly urge family and friends to avoid contacting participants outside of these hours, as they will inevitably be disrupting different elements of the program.


Parents can call the office at any time (781-736-8416) to ask a question, speak to a member of the senior staff, or get a message to a participant.


Participant mail (including small packages) can be sent to:

Participant’s Name
Program Name at Brandeis University
415 South Street – MS 065
Waltham, MA 02454-9110

By FedEx or UPS

The following address should be used:

Participant’s name
Program Name
Admissions Building, 2nd Floor
415 South Street
Brandeis University
Waltham, MA 02453

We look forward to meeting you and having an amazing summer experience!